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HQ 960407

October 23, 1997
CLA-2 RR:TC:TE 960407 jb


TARIFF NO.: 6211.49.9070

Fiona Chau
Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office
1520 18th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036

RE: Textile category designation; Section XI, HTSUS, Note 2(A) and Subheading note 2(B)(a); Memorandum 084118, dated April 13, 1989

Dear Ms. Chau:

This is in response to your letter, dated April 11, 1997 (your case reference number 26/96), on behalf of Ellen Tracy Inc., regarding the classification and textile category designation of certain vests made of a variety of woven blended fabrics. Samples were submitted to this office for examination.


The subject merchandise consists of two vests, referenced styles 13526197 and 13236197, which were the subject of New York Ruling Letter (NY) A89574 and A89575, dated November 20, 1996, respectively. Although the classification of this merchandise as outer vests in heading 6211, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), is not disputed, the category designation for this merchandise is questioned.

Style 13526197 is a vest consisting of front panels made of 65 percent silk and 35 percent wool blended fabric and rear panels of 100 percent acetate lining type fabric. Style 13236197 is a vest consisting of an outer shell made of 52 percent silk and 48 percent wool. It is your belief that the garments were incorrectly given an 859, silk, category designation. You assert that as the wool content exceeds 17 percent of all the component fibres, the garments qualify for a 459, wool, category designation


What is the proper category designation for the subject merchandise?


Classification of merchandise under the Harmonized Tariff System of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA), is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 requires that classification be determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining GRI will be applied, in the order of their appearance.

In the case of style 13526197 the vest is made up of front panels made of a blend of 65 percent silk and 35 percent wool, and rear panels made of 100 percent acetate lining fabric. Style 13236197 is made of an outer shell made of 52 percent silk and 48 percent wool. When two headings each refer to only part of the materials in mixed goods, the headings are to be regarded as equally specific. Consequently, goods which are not classifiable under GRI 3(a) are analyzed as per GRI 3(b) which directs that the goods be classified as if they consisted of the material which gives them their essential character.

In Memorandum 084118, dated April 13, 1989, Customs stated that certain criteria shall be applied in the classification of garments consisting of different fabrics or of textile and nontextile components. The memorandum states in pertinent part:
a. For upper or lower body garments, if one component exceeds 60 percent of the visible surface area, that component will determine the classification of the garment unless the other component:

(1) forms the entire front of the garment; or (2) provides a visual and significant decorative effect (e.g. a substantial amount of lace); or
(3) is over 50 percent by weight of the garment; or (4) is valued at more than 10 times the primary component.

If no component comprises 60 percent of the visible surface area, or if any of the above four listed conditions are present, classification will be according to GRI 3(b) or 3(c), as appropriate.

The textile category designation for the subject garments is based on their classification under the HTSUS. In turn, that classification is based on the fiber composition of the fabrics which comprise the garments. Note 2(A) to Section XI, HTSUS, states, in relevant part:

Goods classifiable in chapters 50 to 55 or in heading 5809 or 5902 and of a mixture of two or more textile materials are to be classified as if consisting wholly of that one textile material which predominates by weight over each other single textile material.

Subheading Note 2 to Section XI, HTSUS, states:

(A) Products of chapters 56 to 63 containing two or more textile materials are to be regarded as consisting wholly of that textile material which would be selected under note 2 to this section for the classification of a product of chapters 50 to 55 consisting of the same textile materials.

(B) For the application of this rule:

(a) Where appropriate, only the part which determines the classification under general interpretative rule 3 shall be taken into account;

In the case of each of the subject vests no single fabric comprises 60 percent or more of the visible surface area. However, in the opinion of this office the front of the garments provide the greatest visual impact and is the primary motivation for the purchasing of these garments by a consumer. Accordingly, as the front panels are made of a blended fabric, as per the terms of Section XI, HTSUS, Note 2(A), the fibers which determine the classification are the fibers which predominate by weight, that is, the silk. Accordingly, both vests were correctly classified in heading 6211, HTSUS, with the corresponding silk textile category designation.


The subject vests, referenced styles 13526197 and 13236197, were correctly classified in heading 6211, HTSUS, with corresponding category designation 859.

The designated textile and apparel category may be subdivided into parts. If so, visa and quota requirements applicable to the subject merchandise may be affected. Since part categories are the result of international bilateral agreements which are subject to frequent negotiations and changes, we suggest that you check, close to the time of shipment, the Status Report on Current Import Quotas (Restraint Levels), an issuance of the U.S. Customs Service which is updated weekly and is available at the local Customs office.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories, you should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division

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